BASSEY WARNS NFF OVER EGUAVOEN, U-23 TEAM

By NBF News
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 Austin Eguavoen
Former Green Eagles player Charles Bassey has warned the Nigeria Football Federation against sacking the national U-23 team coach Austin Eguavoen after Nigeria failed to qualify for the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique.

Nigeria lost 2-0 to Ghana in Kumasi on Sunday to bow out of the race to the continental games. The NFF promised to make drastic changes in the team because of the defeat. But Bassey said the changes should not affect the coach's position in order not to destabilise the team.

'Missing out on the All Africa Games is bad but no coach will plan to fail when he knows the implications of not qualifying for a major tournament,' Bassey told our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday.

'The loss must have been as a result of the psychological attack they had when they arrived in Kumasi for the match. After all, the same team beat Ghana two weeks before.

'What will the NFF achieve if it replaces Eguavoen? This is the time the team need support so that they can qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. If Eguavoen is replaced, it may cause instability in the team.'

The 1980 Africa Nations Cup winner is confident the team will qualify for the Olympics, saying that the players will need to overcome their recent failure to succeed in the eight-nation qualifying series.

He said, 'The Olympic qualifiers should be the priority at this time. The NFF should be concerned with how to improve the team. It is important they make the players understand that no one person can be blamed for their failure in Ghana so that they can be united when going into the next match.'